LAS VEGAS, May 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A French woman and member of the International Raelian Movement (www.rael.org)—a spiritual and atheistic religion—who is seeking to become a US citizen, has filed a lawsuit to remove the phrase, "So help me God" from the oath of citizenship because she is an atheist and believes that the inclusion of that phrase in the United States' citizenship oath is an unconstitutional violation of her religious freedom.
Olga Paule Perrier-Bilbo, 48, a French national and green card holder, has been living in Scituate, Massachusetts, since 2000. "I am determined to forego my French citizenship and instead become an American, but I cannot in good conscience participate in a ceremony that violates the US constitution," said Perrier.
Perrier added, "I am unwilling to start my new life as an American citizen in some second-class status solely because I choose to follow my religious precepts."
According to Perrier, the current oath violates the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, and she believes that to participate in a ceremony which violates that key portion of the United States Constitution is not supporting or defending the Constitution as the oath demands.
"By its very nature, an oath that concludes with, 'So help me God' is asserting that God exists," stated Perrier who filed before a federal court in Massachusetts.
The first amendment of the Bill of Rights Perrier refers to in her lawsuit against the US Congress states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
When offered the chance to participate in a private citizenship ceremony with a modified oath, Perrier argued, "the mere presence of the words represents an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion and any alternative would simply place an illegal burden on me for my beliefs."
"My hope is for the phrase, 'So help me God' to be stricken from future naturalization ceremonies and for this lawsuit to encourage other atheists or agnostics who want to defend the constitution to fight against this anti-constitutional oath," concluded Perrier.
Perrier's lawyer, Michael Newdow, also filed related lawsuits in the past, seeking to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God We Trust" from American currency, and "So help me God" from the Presidential oath of office.
For his commitment to having all mentions of God removed from U.S. public affairs, Rael, founder and leader of the International Raelian Movement, bestowed him the "Honorary Guide" title on January, 17, 2005. This title is given to men and women who are not Raelian, but who dedicate their lives, as Raelians do, to changing the world by reducing violence, denouncing injustice and government manipulations, eliminating god-related taboos, and promoting Human Rights.
The hearing is slated to take place on Tuesday May 8, 2018 in Boston.
SOURCE Raelian Movement